Brilliant Idea: Edmonton's Winter Light Festival

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The Winter Light Festival is a glowing example of Edmonton's vibrant winter scene

There's also a lot of light in the spirit of the community. During the summer, our vibrant festival culture shows that we're the kind of people who gather together and celebrate.

Edmonton, Alberta -- Winter Light Festival producer Pamela Anthony had a brilliant idea: to base an Edmonton Winter Festival on the theme of light! "I noticed how bright the river valley is, with the snow, and how beautiful the stars are," she says. "There's also a lot of light in the spirit of the community. During the summer, our vibrant festival culture shows that we're the kind of people who gather together and celebrate."

The Winter Light Festival proves that Edmontonians do the same in winter. This 10-week run of seasonal fun begins with the Opening Ceremonies and Winter Light Gala, January 8, 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. at Sir Winston Churchill Square and City Hall, downtown. To brighten the night, there will be fires, hot chocolate, theatrical adventures, and the community spirit that comes when people huddle together for a parade and a special winter blessing.

The warmth of the season continues in Festival City with Close to the Flame, a series of culture and heritage campfires encampments in Edmonton's stunning river valley, and the Shine Your Light Lantern Parades, where people of all ages enjoy the hands-on thrill of making their own community lantern.

The Winter Light Festival highlights outdoor fun, with events like Snow Daze (skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing on Edmonton's ski hills), the Winter Light Star Party (for astronomy buffs and curious amateurs), and longstanding Edmonton traditions such as the Ice on Whyte Festival, which includes 25 teams of international artists joining in an ice carving competition, and the Silver Skate Festival, an extravaganza of sport, art and culture for all ages, including a 25 and 50 km skate marathon, a winter triathlon, and more.

"We have the outdoor recreation infrastructure and sense of spirit and community that people are looking for all around the world," Anthony says.

On March 21, the Winter Light Festival will usher in spring with Illuminations, a spectacle of projects light, fire artistry and music in Churchill Square. Until then, there is nonstop winter fun for everyone in Edmonton, Alberta one of the coolest winter cities in Canada.

For more information about The Winter Light Festival, which runs from January 8-March 21, 2009, visit http://www.winterlight.ca.

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Jenifer Christenson
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